What other plans are out there?
If you are in NSW, Queensland or Victoria, check out the government comparison sites.
The Australian Energy Regulator compares energy deals for other jurisdictions.
Look at commercial switching sites. Depending on the plan, some of these sites can make the switch for you, but be careful – they may not look at the whole market.
When comparing deals, consider:
- The rates per kWh.
- Fixed supply charges.
- Discounts - For example, for paying on time (check if they are for the whole bill i.e. fixed charges and usage charges OR for usage only).
- Late fees.
- Billing - How often do you receive your bill and how can you pay?
- Other fees - For e.g. establishment fees, fees for receiving paper bills.
- Length of contract - Do you need to sign up to a long-term contract? Are any exit fees or moving home fees applicable?
- Other terms and conditions.
- Your gas plan - If you have mains gas, find out whether it will be cheaper to move both your electricity and gas to the same retailer.
When evaluating other plans online, also consider the following:
- Take a look at the level of savings associated with each plan. Note that often these estimates assume that you pay your bill on time and that you pay by a certain payment method e.g. direct debit.
- The level of savings associated with each plan are typically for the first year only and may include for example a $50 credit on your first bill. Therefore if the plan is for more than one year, the savings would not be the same for subsequent years.
If you find something better, contact your current provider and see if they will match it or do better. If they can’t, that is a good time to re-check any fees that would apply if you leave.
If you decide that you want to switch, you can contact the new retailer directly or alternatively use a commercial switching site that offers this facility.
Know your rights
If you are switching electricity plans, you have a 10 business-day cooling-off period. This means you can change your mind and cancel the contract within 10 business days.
If you are being door-knocked or telephoned by marketers:
- Don’t feel pressured to make a decision on the spot.
- For door-knockers, ask to see their identification. By law, they have to show you. If you ask them to leave, they must leave immediately.
- There have been reports of sales people saying that ‘your supplier won’t change’. This is not true. The distributor (i.e. the poles and wires) that supplies your electricity won’t change but your retailer (the one that bills you) will change.
If you don’t like people knocking on your door, you can get a ‘Do not knock’ sticker to put out the front of your house.
If you do not wish to be contacted by telemarketers, you can register on the Australian Government’s Do Not Call Register online or by calling 1300 792 958.
For more information about your rights when a salesperson knocks, see here.
What else can you do?